The University of Stirling men’s and women’s golf teams have been crowned champions of Europe again after a thrilling EUSA (European University Sports Association) Golf Championships in the Czech Republic.
Retaining the titles they won in St Gallen, Switzerland, in 2015, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Stirling group as, while the women’s squad enjoyed a six shot cushion at the top of the leaderboard ahead of Maynooth University, the men secured victory in a dramatic sudden-death playoff against Scottish rivals from the University of St Andrews. This year’s winning teams were: (Women’s) Gemma Batty, Chloe Goadby and Sinead Sexton; (Men’s) Jack Cope, Colin Edgar, Robert Foley, Alasdair McDougall and Jordan Sundborg.
There were also individual medals at the tournament in Liberec, with Goadby spearheading the women’s challenge with an excellent performance but, despite being the only player under-par in the last round, the third-year Psychology and Sports Studies student fell agonisingly short by one shot to finish second, behind Maynooth’s Shannon Burke. Meanwhile, teammate Sexton, who was playing in her final university competition after graduating with an MSc in Sports Management, joined Goadby on the podium, in third place.
In the men’s event, second-year Sport Studies student, Sundborg, claimed third in the singles before going on to be Stirling’s last-gasp hero, when he held his nerve to beat George Burns of St Andrews on the first playoff hole of the team event. Sundborg was ably backed-up by teammate and fellow second-year student, Robert Foley, who finished two shots back, in joint seventh.
Describing the success of his young charges, the University of Stirling’s High Performance Golf Coach, Dean Robertson, said: “It was hugely important for us as a team because student golf across Europe and the UK is getting better and, with the standard of competition increasing, the wins show the tremendous pride we have at Stirling in both our reputation and day-to-day work ethic.
“I’m absolutely delighted for all of the players, particularly on the back of an injury-hit BUCS Final earlier in the year, and losing Jack Cope at this event. The way they came together to win at Liberec was a fantastic team effort.
“We’ve got a lot of young players across both the men’s and women’s teams this year, so to see them achieve success early in the academic season is really pleasing. There are a couple of massive events coming up, including a trip to the States, and with everyone’s confidence high it’s a really exciting time.”
The University of Stirling’s Director of Sport, Cathy Gallagher, added: “Our Golf Scholarship Programme continues to succeed beyond national boundaries and this is reflective of the quality of coaching and experience delivered by Dean, as well as the hard work and commitment of the athletes.
“This year has seen a number of new players join the programme and they will no doubt benefit from training and playing with the more experienced scholars, and winning events like the EUSA Championships will have a really positive impact on those coming in.
“Once again, the team have done themselves and the University proud and it is our job to continue enhancing their support services and deliver a world-class performance environment to help them develop.
“We aim to provide our scholarship athletes with excellent sporting and life opportunities, and we now wish the team well as they head to America next week to pitch their skills against some of the world’s top golf institutions, including Yale, Stanford and Harvard, in what will be another memorable experience.”